Did that not make sense? Then you're probably not a sneakerhead. A sneaker bot is an application that essentially allows you to automate the online checkout process. It can be impossible for an average consumer to buy a hot release like the Yeezy Boost 350. But using a bot service increases your chances of "copping" your "grail" (a.k.a. successfully purchasing a highly desired pair of sneakers). Successfully copping a pair of sneakers while using a bot means you're "cooking." Are you following along?
In theory, this sounds simple enough. But in a market as competitive as the sneaker industry, botting can become increasingly complicated.
Using a sneaker bot doesn't guarantee you'll be walking away a winner. But if you love sneakers, the added advantage you get from using a bot service is well worth the effort. The problem is that most consumers are not technical and don't understand proxies or servers well enough to be successful.
Our team partnered up with sneakerheads to develop an agile user-centered product that brings botting to a whole new level of ease. Through a clean UI, easy-to-use interface, automated set up and the ability for expert users to create more complex tasks — we developed a robust platform easy enough for anyone to use.
Like any product, a cornerstone of The Cookout's success lied in branding. We had the unique challenge of creating an identity that needed to encapsulate the nuances of sneaker culture and lingo through an approachable design sense. Combining botting culture and language with custom illustration and bold design, our team cooked up a brand identity that is friendly, conversational and accessible to everyone.
The competition among sneaker bots is fierce. With software ranging from $10 to $9,000, there are A LOT of options and it's not always clear which one is the best. When it comes to copping a pair of your favorite sneakers, cost is relative and the best bots to use come down to several different deciding factors.
The consumer-facing website was designed to connect with end-users through storytelling. By focusing on the pain points associated with trying to cop the latest sneaker release, we humanized the technology and platform. We also strived for full transparency on the product offering to position the brand as a hub for the major sneaker bots available.
As a robust platform functionality is focused on a desktop experience. But knowing that mobile traffic accounts for roughly 57% of all webpage traffic in the United States, responsive design was key to reach a larger market.
If you're a die-hard collector you're often investing in multiple bots, each of which can range from the hundreds to thousands of dollars per platform. With the Cookout, the barrier of entry to botting has been lowered by giving users access to the major bots in the industry through a single easy-to-use web dashboard. For under $100 a month users can bot on all their favorite sites with full control of the bot of choice via their dashboard.
Accessing all the major bots available on the market is a key feature of the platform. This posed a big challenge to our creative team – how do we design a single interface that will seamlessly work across the different requirements of each platform?
Relying heavily on research, our UX team was able to identify and develop a system of universal components, fields, inputs, etc. that would work across the board. We explored multiple use cases to ensure every gap was accommodated for in the cooking process. Visual design focused on making a complex feature set simple and easy to use. And our human-centered design approach emphasized the need to create a sense of familiarity in form and function.
To further strengthen the intuitiveness of the dashboard, micro-interactions were heavily explored throughout the UX and design process. The team sought to provide immediate user feedback for a smoother experience while being as non-intrusive as possible. This helped create a more human-like experience within a piece of non-human feeling software.
With inventory moving so fast, a notification system that can keep up with instant feedback is crucial in botting. Once a user is all set up, the platform provides real-time feedback on vital information including successful purchases, checkout failures, task updates and more. The platform also tracks new releases and drops and pushes tailored email notifications to users.
Users benefit from fast, task-boosting insights that help iterate and evolve settings. With the Cookout dashboard, you can see how you have done throughout your Cookout career and also compare your metrics to others in the community to see where you can improve.
The sneaker community has been dominated by very high markups on software for the industry, information about releases, resale of sneakers, etc. Democratizing the industry and offering all of these tools to users for a small monthly or yearly fee, changes the whole dynamic and landscape of the industry.
Setting up your Bot(s) to run in the cloud is not a simple task. You need to have the technical ability to build and deploy the Bot(s) on Amazon, Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or other cloud solutions. The Cookout takes this out of the equation and automates this for users so all the need to worry about is setting up their tasks, profiles, billing address, etc. and the Cookout automation will do the rest.
Providing a subscription service is a key component to The Cookout's business model. Without a dedicated team of full-time engineers to handle these billing complexities, we integrated Stripe as part of the tech stack. Stripe allows The Cookout to create products for users to subscribe to on a monthly and yearly basis and also purchase one of the products.
The Cookout's platform was engineered with security at top of mind. All data that is passed through the platform is encrypted and adhere to PCI standards. This makes sure all users feel safe using the platform and will also prepare for the expansion to the EU with GDPR compliance.